Both string quartets featured in this podcast were published as part of a group of six string quartets Mozart dedicated to Haydn, and Haydn’s influence shows. The first quartet on the program, number 16, takes a great deal from Haydn’s string quartets. The first movement begins with a slow, somewhat mysterious, introduction, and moves on to a good-humored romp, full of Haydn’s playful style. The third movement, the minuet, also delights in unexpected hesitations and interruptions. But, while the quartet is inspired by Haydn, it remains distinctively Mozart in sound. The second quartet on the podcast, the “Dissonant” quartet, begins with an even more surprising introduction. The tonality of the piece comes into focus only after this ambiguous start, the source of the “Dissonant” nickname. After this disorienting introduction, the quartet picks up a bright, spirited allegro, now securely in C Major. The minuet of this quartet again recalls Haydn, with its witty rhythmic and harmonic surprises. But its “dissonant” introduction foreshadows something much more modern, even to listeners two and a half centuries later.
Recorded live in the Tapestry Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is pleased to share this concert under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License. For details see www.gardnermuseum.org.